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Missions Parish Good Shepherd - Lebanon


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Mission Parish Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd, Lebanon, VA

The Struggle to Maintain Our Parishes - The New Cluster

The struggle to maintain our other mission parishes causes us to place some our mission churches into a different cluster. Therefore the churches that were originally established as mission churches of St. Anthony's are now separated into clustered communities. St. Mary's Coeburn, St. Therese's, St. Paul, and The Good Shepherd, in Lebanon are now clustered together.

Good Shepherd Parish Lebanon, VA

Founded in 1959
Location: PO Box 730
890 W Main Street
Lebanon, VA 24266
Phone: (276) 889-1690
Fax: (276) 889-1690
Cell PH: (276) 254-0176

(276) 337-8851

Email: smstgscatholicchurch@gmail.com
Email Announcements mary.mccoy@bvu.net
Web: smstgs

Office Hours

various hours


Mass/Reconciliation Times

  • Sunday: 11:00AM (English)
  • Daily: Wednesday 6:30PM
  • Holy Day:


  • Pastor Rev. Xavier Banasula

Office Hours

Tuesday St. Therese 9:00 a.m -12:00 Noon
Tuesday St. Mary 2:00 p.m - 3.30 p.m.
Wednesday & Friday Good Shepherd 9:00 a.m- 12.00 p.m.

Handicapped Accessible

  • Worship Areas
  • Social Hall
  • Offices
  • Meeting Rooms

Special Ministries

  • Support of the Lebanon Christian Center
  • People Inc. Head Start
  • Property maintained for use by transients.

Associated Parishes

  • Saint Mary
  • Saint Therese

Prison Ministries

  • Russell County Jail

    Phone: (276) 889-8033

    Mailing: P.O. Box 338 Lebanon, VA 24266

Local Town Web

The Previous Priest was Fr. Charles Ssebalamu

Fr. Charles Ssebalamu is originally from Masaka Diocese—Uganda (East Africa). On August 3, 1996, Fr. Charles Ssebalamu was ordained as a priest. Fr. Charles has a degree in Philosophy and Theology, from Urban University Roam and a Diploma from National Seminaries in Uganda. For two years, Fr. Charles worked in a rural parish. After that, Fr. Charles worked for thirteen years as Secretary to the Bishop of Masaka Diocese. On August 10, 2011, Fr. Charles joined the Diocese of Richmond.  Fr. Charles has served the cluster parishes of Good Shepherd (South Hill), St Catherine of Siena (Clarksville) and St. Paschal (South Boston). Beginning in July 2012 till November 2012 He served as Parochial Vicar at St. Bede’s. We are now blessed to have him as our pastor.

A group of loving and dedicated priests from Africa came to the Diocese of Richmond. After he arrived, Fr. Charles Ssebalamu served the bishop and other parish communities, then Fr. Charles came to Lebanon to serve the Spirit of the Mountains cluster, including the parishs of St. Mary in Coeburn Virginia, St. Therese in St. Paul Virginia and Good Shepherd in Lebanon Virginia.

Fr. Mike Herbert's Ordination

Michael J. Herbert makes a promise of obedience to Bishop Francis X. Dilorenzo during his ordination to the priesthood March 2, 2005 at St. Ann Church in Ashland. Others, from left, are seminarian Tony Marques, Father Michael Renninger, Vicar for Vocations, and Deacon Eugene Kamper. Father Herbert's first  assignment was parochial vicar at St. Bridget parish in Richmond.

The Catholic Virginian

Profile Good Shepherd - Lebanon

BY JEAN DENTON of The Catholic Virginian

Faith, need, and generosity, those are the key elements that led to establishing Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Lebanon.

Faith — the Glenmary priests had a mission, begun in the 1940s, to bring a Catholic presence to the beautiful but poor Appalachian region where Lebanon is located.

Need — in the 1950s, although St. Therese Church served a tiny Catholic population in the remote community of St. Paul, VA, one could travel 100 miles over the main road between Bristol and Bluefield and never go through a town with a Catholic church.

Generosity — the church was built largely through a sizable monetary donation by a Glenmary benefactor, a gift of a dump truck and the volunteer labor of a priest's father.

Today, the parish meets its annual operating budget largely thanks to an endowment made from a parishioner several years ago.

The tradition of generosity continues

Good Shepherd pastor Father Michael Herbert suggested, "If my priest friends in the big parishes had the per capita contributions we have, they would be rolling in it. "And it's not just money people are very generous with the time and work they put into the parish." Good Shepherd Church currently has a membership of about 60 households. Usually about 45 people attend Sunday Mass.

Father Mike, as he is known to his churchgoers, has been pastor since 2006 when Father Bob Krenik retired due to illness. Father Mike now leads a three parish cluster that also includes St. Therese in St. Paul and St. Mary in Coeburn.

A "late vocation," he has been a priest for five years now after a long career as an attorney and law professor in Richmond. He said he enjoys the rural setting of his church cluster and shares many of the "extra" pastoral duties, such as visit­ing prisons and officiating at weddings and funerals, with the other priests in the far southwest region of the diocese.

Lebanon, population 3,200, is the Russell County seat. It is about 25 miles north of Abingdon. The town's economy is based on agriculture and the coal industry, but in recent years a couple of information technology companies have located there and provide employment for residents as well.

Good Shepherd Parish was established in 1959 by Father Roland ("Rollie"). Later, a Glenmary priest who had come to the region more than a decade earlier and was living and serving in St. Paul at the time.

Father Hautz, now pastor of parishes in Gate City and Dungannon, bought the four acres where the parish still stands with $7,000 in Glenmary funds and celebrated Mass there for a few years in a trailer given to him by a friend.

He sought money to build a church from his religious community. At the time, the Glenmary’s were discussing, with "a wealthy woman in Lebanon, Ohio," her making a contribution for a seminary building, Father Hautz recalled.

When she explained she wasn't as interested in buildings as in assisting a community, the Glenmary’s asked if she'd like to make a donation to building a church in Lebanon, Virginia. She happily agreed.

Jay and Mary McCoy Lead the Music


Father Hautz rustled up matching donations from the Catholic Church Extension Society and Wheeling Bishop Joseph Hodges (the region's diocese at the time), and built the church for $30,000.

Father Hautz hauled building mate­rials in a dump truck given to him by a contractor friend, and his own recently retired father, Ray Mintz, did most of the carpentry, plumbing and wiring for free. It took three years to complete construction.

Now facing needed renovations in all three churches of the cluster, Father Herbert said there is little funding out­side the operating budget for the work. So he'll follow in the Hautz tradition and look to parishioners to provide as much of the labor as possible.

Typical of the region, Catholics are a minority in Lebanon. Many have moved in from other parts of the country, explained Good Shepherd parishioner Cathy Stiltner who moved there in 1976 from northern Virginia. But the small number of parishioners keeps the parish alive with their active participation in ministry. Ms. Stiltner serves as bookkeeper for the church and is one of several people who help set up for Mass on Sundays.

Jessica McCoy, who coordinates Christian formation, counts on her fingers the number of children and youth enrolled in religious education — plus one. There are 11 from the entire cluster.

Nevertheless, all four parish catechists are diocesan certified through the Pathways program. Managing a program with so few children is challenging since they tend to be in clumps of age groups.

For instance, Ms. McCoy noted that last spring five children received first Eucharist, but it will be several years in the future before any more prepare for that sacrament. One teen was year ago, but it won’t be until two years from now that three more will form a confirmation class in the cluster. "That's just the way it is." Father Herbert pointed out. But he added that attendance has been very good at adult formation classes which include a monthly presentation by Melanie Coddington, the diocesan regional Christian formation coordinator, and an occasional Bible study series led by parish catechist Bob Dorton.




Father Herbert noted that he's gratified by adult parishioners' interest in their own knowledge of the faith. "We can't skip a generation," he said, "because if we miss one generation, it's gone. "Jay and Mary McCoy, Jessica's parents, have led the parish music ministry for 25 years. They explained that they try to provide a wide range of musical styles to accommodate parishioners' tastes while also enriching their experience of liturgy.

Mary McCoy also headed Christian formation for a number of years before passing it to her daughter. In serving the community, Father Herbert said Good Shepherd currently "is limited in what we can do beyond liturgy and Christian formation," but he pointed out that many members are individually "doing a lot in helping the poor and elderly" in the region.

The parish also provides monthly support to Lebanon's Christian Center, a local social service organization run jointly by the main Christian churches of the community. The Christian Center was established in 1991 by the local ministerial group when the pastors realized they all were receiving the same kinds of requests for emergency family assistance.

A year later, Sister Rebecca Rodenbaugh, of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, arrived to serve as the center's director, a job she held for 13 years. The center is open six days a week. "It helped the people that needed help," recalled Sr. Rebecca who super­vised some 40 volunteers from the spon­soring churches. It continues to provide for the local poor.

Thinking of Father Hautz, the Glenmary's commitment and the work of Sr. Rebecca, Father Mike pointed out, "For generations resources have been poured into this area by the Church which has been known for its outreach here. There was a Sister Rebecca in every parish, but we don't have such resources anymore."

Mary McCoy remembered the many women religious that served the wider community in Appalachia. "They came here and came into our homes and our families and cared about us," she said. "And they transformed the view that people had about us “Catholics." Cathy Stiltner believes Good Shepherd parishioners quietly follow their example. It seems there are lots of people in the church who go out and live their faith in the community, she said, and so people know who we are".